Sunday, May 20, 2012

Not for the squeamish


That is the only thing on the minds of Greeks during Easter Sunday. Lamb. Those on grilling duty have to wake early to dig a pit in the ground to prepare a rotisserie, if they're not lucky enough to have a permanent one already. Lamb. The entire corpse of the animal, from head to hoof is pulled out of the butcher bag. Lamb. A metal skewer, larger than the animal itself, is shoved up its rectum, through its body until jabbed through the skull. Lamb. Prongs are forced through the inside of the carcass to the outside, along the spine, and screwed in to stabilize the lamb to the skewer. Lamb. A thick, large needle is used to sew the two sides of the belly, previously opened by the butcher to remove the innards, shut. Lamb. Slits are made in the arms and legs for garlic and other herbs to be inserted before being sewn back together. Lamb. Sheets of skin are placed over the nearly prepared body and held into place by knots of string sewn in random spots. Lamb.  All set, the skewered animal is propped against a wall to drain any remaining juices.


A second skewer, just as large as the first, is held upright to be filled with a delicacy. Lamb. A prized, highly anticipated, treat - coveted more than the whole lamb propped against a wall awaiting its fate. Lamb. For, the second skewer is layered like a shish kabob: liver, heart, skin, liver, heart, skin, liver, heart, skin - repeated until sufficiently full. Lamb. Although, that alone leaves it incomplete. Lamb. It is missing an essential, mouth watering, ingredient: intestines. Lamb. To add it involves more hands. Lamb. Creating a delicacy is a two person job, one to spin the skewer while the other wraps the intestines (cleaned three times and left soaking in vinegar) around the pieces of heart, liver and skin.


The skewers are placed on the rotisserie. Lamb. The meat is roasted. Lamb. Fingers and mouths become greasy. Lamb. Stomaches fill. Lamb. Dinner completes. Lamb. And minds move on to other things.



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